The Black Management Forum (the BMF) wishes to express its disappointment in Mr Johan Rupert’s most unfortunate utterances made during Power FM’s annual event, Chairman’s Conversation that was hosted by the Chairman of MSG Afrika Group, Mr Given Mkhari on Tuesday, 4 December 2018 in Johannesburg.
Mr Rupert’s assertions on the state of the country epitomised the nonchalant stance of whites who still largely own and control the South African economy to the everyday struggles of black people to the core. The interview took a downturn from the moment it began through an array of insults that were directed towards black people by Mr Rupert from the moment he opened his mouth. He was blatantly racist and condescending from the onset and with most executive positions still in the hands of white males such as himself, it comes as no surprise to the BMF that the pace of transformation is lagging behind and dismal.
Mr Rupert comfortably spat in the face of black South Africans and organisations such as the BMF. What is even more cringe worthy and disappointing is that the very same people he undermined and insulted were in the same room with him but the majority of them continuously clapped and laughed in response to his answers and assertions which, in essence, affirmed what he was saying.
It was apparent during the interview that Mr Rupert will never acknowledge his privilege as he unashamedly displayed his disregard for the humanity of black people and he will continue to do so because he was socialised into believing that his race is superior to all other races. White privilege runs in his blood and it is all he has ever known. So as expressed by BMF President, Mr Andile Nomlala, who was in attendance, “If black people do not realise that they are on their own in and outside of this room, then there will never be any other time that they realise this”.
As the BMF we urge the disgruntled black professionals to remember that the system of apartheid did not end because white people finally and miraculously admitted their wrongdoings and ill treatment of black people but that it ended because of compromises made by black struggle veterans. And so, when the system of apartheid ended, racism and white privilege did not but continued to blossom.
Therefore, the fight against racists such as Mr Rupert is one that supersedes the BMF and unpleased South Africans calling them out, as eloquently asserted by President Nomlala in response to Mr Rupert’s assertions during his interview, “the onus is on us (black professionals) to change the script. We control the legislation in this country and for us to advance ourselves, we need to clench the levers of legislation and regulation that control what happens with capital, opportunities and business prospects”.
This task is onerous, but we as the BMF will take it head on and leave no stone unturned in our pursuit to advance socio-economic transformation in South Africa.